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Opinion piece

What I’ve learned in 2020

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Rick Williams, Business Disability Forum

So as this rather testing year comes to an end and before I have to go and put on my Santa outfit I thought it might be useful to reflect on our first year and look forward to what we might be doing next year.

As I said back in September, it has been an astonishingly challenging year for all of us. What really surprised me was the sustained appetite for members to carry on work in the whole field of disability, in the midst of COVID. I thought the employment issues would continue to feature but I have been amazed by the wider activities we’ve gotten involved in as a result of Members and Partners on-going efforts.

We’ve undertaken major projects in recruitment policy and practice reviews, provision of adjustments, employment policy review and update, audits of the built environment and websites. In fact I would say the consultancy work at BDF is the busiest it has ever been and in a broader range of issues. Who would have thought it?!

Of increasing note is the amount of international work we are now undertaking with members and partners in supporting their global approach to recruitment, provision of adjustments and ensuring a best practice approach to the design of offices. This is a challenging area of work but one which is endlessly fascinating.

The majority of this work is all being undertaken remotely of course and it really highlights the potential this way of working has. If you had asked me this time last year can you do all of your work remotely, I would have probably said not all of it, not even half of it… well, clearly, I would have been wrong. That is not to say it doesn’t have its challenges and I particularly miss not talking to people face-to-face and I find Zoom and Teams soulless and difficult to use! On the other hand, I’m not spending half my life on trains or planes which is never as glamorous as it sounds. One hotel room is much like another whether it is in Liverpool, Sofia or Vilnius. Mind you, having just written that it does make me nostalgic for the overseas gigs. Maybe in 2021!

I’m sure our traditional areas of work will continue into 2021 and we are looking forward to working with Members and Partners with such projects. But the world of disability never stands still and we are now looking at developing our work around personal development and coaching programmes for disabled employees. This area is going to be the next big issue for organisations I would suggest, given what has been happening in this area and the impact such initiatives have. So, if you want to talk to us about that just get in touch with me and in the meantime look out for news on this work over the coming months.

So, it only remains for me to say… we’ve enjoyed and look forward to working with you next year. I’m off to find the Santa outfit now, and has anyone seen my assistant reindeer?

To find out more about Consultancy, find out more in the link and to get in touch with Rick Williams, email


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